The 1990s ushered in a golden era for children’s programming on Nickelodeon that featured a mixture of live-action series and cartoons, then known as Nicktoons. Animated series like Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, Ahhh! Real Monsters, Doug, and The Ren and Stimpy Show became TV staples for most kids growing up in the ’90s. The powerful nostalgia of these shows even led TeenNick to launch a block of programming in the 2010s called The Splat, formerly known as The ’90s Are All That, dedicated to re-airing series from the ’80s, ’90s, and early ’00s.
The nostalgia power of these shows is so powerful, last year Nickelodeon was reportedly thinking of reviving many classic cartoons for a new generation “in a fresh new way.” Now, Paramount is teaming with Nickelodeon Films for a new movie based on their library of popular ’90s animated characters, called NickToons.
Variety is reporting that Paramount and Nickelodeon Films have tapped Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) to direct NickToons. He’ll pen the script with his wife and writing partner Jerusha Hess. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, who worked on The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water for Nickelodeon Films, have signed on to produce.
NickToons will follow in the vein of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the 1988 feature that mixed animated characters with live-action, and include characters from Doug, Rugrats, The Ren and Stimpy Show, and Ahh! Real Monsters. According to a report from Deadline, characters from Rocko’s Modern Life and The Angry Beavers will be in the mix as well.
Movies mixing animated characters with live-action actors isn’t necessarily a new phenomena, though it was popularized by Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam in the ’80s/’90s. But this will be the first time a film used characters from ’90s Nickelodeon cartoons, blatantly tapping into the nostalgia of viewers. Nostalgia-driven films and television series have seen an uptick in recent years, including reboots and revivals, as well as original films. The last two years have seen the release of Pixels, Goosebumps, and The LEGO Movie among others, all based on popular pop culture properties of recent decades.
Although tapping into properties that have a lot of nostalgia tied to them can be successful if movie studios offer a fresh idea to entertain viewers, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a box office or critical home run. That being said, fans of ’90s Nickelodeon programming may be excited to see their favorite animated characters come to life on the big screen (for the first time ever in some cases), though that’s the majority of what we know about NickToons. Since the film is still in the early stages of development, it may be awhile before we know much more about what NickToons will eventually look like once it makes its way to theaters.
What do you think about bringing ’90s cartoons to the big screen in NickToons? Let us know in the comments!
We’ll keep you updated on NickToons as more information becomes available.